Even though we're still experiencing a heat wave here at the beach, September is upon us and autumn is only around the corner.
Did you know?
- Americans are actively buying homes in Europe and the UK as the strength of the dollar expands; the dollar is worth slightly more than a Euro and up notably against the pound. The strength of the dollar may also make many imports cheaper for US citizens. This could slightly help bring down inflation.
- 2022 may be the year of housing inventory relief. The Inventory of listed homes has jumped 31% compared to 2021’s historically low levels. This means that now there is over 9 months supply of new homes for sale in the US; in August 2020 there was a scant 3-4 months supply. Looking further back, December 2018 had about 7.5 months supply.
- As of early August, the unemployment rate dropped to a half-century low. The U.S. economy has now recouped the 22 million jobs lost early in the pandemic, adding 528,000 positions in July. The jobs recovery took nearly 2½ years.
- Early August also found the following:
- Mortgage applications down 18% compared to a year ago
- Inventory/active listings up 18.7%.
- Pending home sales declined by 20%.
- Refinancing down 83% compared to a year ago.
- While FED rates rise, mortgage lenders' fixed interest rates are closely tied to bond rates. When bond yields decline, fixed mortgage rates also come down – a direct relationship.
- Affordability and Outdoorsy are two of the most sought after attributes of places to live these days, and are in the shortest supply.
- Neuroscientists say that spending time near oceans, lakes, rivers and other blue spaces can provide a range of benefits including reducing anxiety, easing mental fatigue and rejuvenating us. When you are near water, there is often less visual and auditory information to process. Minds can rest, which may explain the soaring demand for pools in the past 2-3 years and the value of any waterfront property. Any water features usually add value to a home.
- Regarding the dog days of summer … Bill Gates’ clean tech investment fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, is leading a $20 million investment round in an air conditioning startup. His Blue Frontier is an air conditioner uses a salt solution as a liquid desiccant to do both the cooling and dehumidification work that is done by refrigerants in conventional air conditioner units. This is key, because refrigerants are bad for the environment and also the salt solution can be a store of energy, which evens out peak energy demand in the hottest days of summer.
- Lacquered painted ceilings are a trend these days and they do look great. One lesser known value-add is their ability to transport and reflect light deep into rooms and spaces that have lesser light.
- A survey of 1,086 CEOs of U.S. companies on the 2022 Inc. 5000 list found that 64% wake up by 6 a.m., or earlier. Nearly 90% of the CEOs surveyed rise no later than 7 a.m.
- While labor shortages plague many companies, at the Hyatt Regency Boston Cambridge, two robots navigate the banquet space and guest room corridors by scanning QR codes that have been installed around the building. A robot, which doesn’t have to unplug and replug its power cord as it moves or respond to guest requests, can vacuum a floor in 45 minutes compared with the 90 minutes that it takes human housekeepers.
- Gen Z (the generation of people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s) is the first fully digitally native generation. They were surrounded by and immersed in computers and smartphones and had access to social media from their earliest days, dramatically shaping their experiences and interactions. Gen Zers have a much more global view and broader sensitivities to culture, diversity, and inclusion than previous generations; they also have greater access to information and trends from all over the world, shaping their preferences and viewpoints.